A TULLIBODY man battling coronavirus in intensive hospital care is urging fellow Wee County residents to take Covid-19 seriously.

The town's Ralph Rindfleisch is currently being looked after by hard working Intensive Care Unit (ICU) staff at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert.

Mr Rindfleisch, who praised the doctors and nurses, explained it has been difficult not the have any visitors, although he is keeping in touch with family regularly on the phone and via video calls.

He said: "I have no idea how I caught it and I tried to be sensible with cleaning, washing and making sure people didn't come to the house.

"Surely, after nearly a year you would think the penny must have dropped, but people must take this more seriously."

The 71-year-old retired lorry driver is one of 10, according to statistics released on Friday February 12, within ICU and is one of 153 patients being treated with recently confirmed coronavirus.

Staff in ICU at Larbert

Staff in ICU at Larbert

Back in April, at the peak of the first wave, the hospital was only seeing around 60 patients on the worst days.

The current levels are more than double that and are causing concerns for the public health officials who have been keeping a close eye on the situation for months – as recently reported in the Advertiser.

Heather Riddoch, senior charge nurse in ICU, said: "Forth Valley Royal Hospital is very busy treating patients with Covid-19 and a wide range of other health conditions.

"This is mirrored in our Intensive Care Unit where we continuing to care for patients with serious cardiac, stroke and respiratory illnesses.

"Covid-19 is very unpredictable and people can become unwell very quickly so we have adapted our ICU so that it is able to meet the changing needs of patients during the ongoing pandemic."

Doctors are also making clear that coronavirus is not only affecting older people with more and more patients in their 30s and 40s becoming ill.

Stenhousemuir man Richard Linning is one of the younger patients in ICU at the age of 35

Stenhousemuir man Richard Linning is one of the younger patients in ICU at the age of 35

Fiona McIIveney, clinical lead for intensive care at NHS Forth Valley, said: "We are definitely seeing more people in their thirties and forties with Covid-19 becoming seriously unwell.

"This is not a virus which just affects older people, it can affect people of all ages so everyone needs to be careful and follow the national guidance."

Stenhousemuir man Richard Linning is one of the younger patients being treated in ICU.

The 35-year-old bus driver said: "The virus is out there; it's transmittable, and it's deadly.

"Please take it seriously, listen to the advice, follow the rules and do what you can to protect yourself."